LivingSocial swoops for Aussie start-up Jump On It

US group buying giant LivingSocial has acquired Australian start-up Jump On It, one year after taking a 31% stake in the company, in a deal believed to be worth around $40 million.


Jump On It was founded by Colin Fabig, James Gilbert and Adam Rigby in late 2009, as the group buying craze was starting to take hold. It now has more than 1.2 million subscribers daily.


In late 2010, Jump On It made headlines when US group buying site LivingSocial invested in the company, taking a 31% stake for $5 million as a placeholder for an outright acquisition.


Then in December last year, LivingSocial senior executives returned to Australia to sweep up the remainder of Jump On It, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of LivingSocial.


Based in Washington, LivingSocial operates in 25 countries and boasts 10 million subscribers.


While neither party has confirmed the sale price, it’s been reported the founders and original investors are “delighted” with the outcome. The deal is believed to be worth around $40 million.


The Jump On It brand will continue to operate in tandem with LivingSocial, with the company confirming there will be no redundancies as part of the acquisition.


Rigby will take up the role of executive general manager of LivingSocial Australia and New Zealand, where he will oversee the company’s operations as chief executive.


He replaces current country head Fabig, who has assumed the role of chairman and will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the company.


Prior to co-founding Jump On It, Rigby served as chief operating officer of financial comparison site InfoChoice.


“I am delighted [Rigby] will be taking over our day-to-day operations [in Australia and New Zealand,” LivingSocial president of international Eric Eichmann said in a statement.


“Our talented group of employees will continue to offer our members the best deals possible everyday and provide our merchants with the great support they’ve come to expect from us.”


According to Rigby, there are “many fantastic opportunities” yet to be explored in the group buying sector, so the acquisition of Jump On It is an exciting prospect.


“I am thrilled to be taking the lead for positioning LivingSocial in the market in Australia and New Zealand,” Rigby says.


According to Brendan Lewis, LivingSocial director of corporate communications, Jump On It has been an integral part of LivingSocial’s growth in Australia.


“We are very happy with what we see as a vibrant business,” Lewis told The Sydney Morning Herald.


With regard to acquisitions, Lewis said LivingSocial looked for companies with “a great team, great employees, really good potential for growth, and good cultural fits”.


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